The last few days have been a bit dreary and we haven’t done a lot of things so yesterday we decided to get out of Dodge and take another road trip. This time we travelled north to Fanning Springs State Park.
This park is very similar to Manatee Springs State Park, which we visited earlier, except there is no camping. There are some cabins you can rent but basically it is a day use area.
There is quite a large parking lot and there are many picnic tables with BBQs throughout the property. There is also a picnic shelter and a beach volleyball court. Also near the swim area are outdoor showers, washrooms and a concession. The concession was closed but I suspect it is a hub of activity during the summer.
You can see from one of the photos, the swim area that occupies the beginning of the spring. It is roped off with some red buoys. This keeps the boats out of the swim area as the spring runs into the Suwannee River, which can be seen off in the distance. Prior to these buoys, there was a floating dock that separated these areas. It was thought that the dock was preventing the Manatees from entering the tepid 72° water so the dock was replaced with the buoys.
When we were there the swim area was closed because of flooding. I guess the Suwannee River was rising. There was no indication of how much water flows from these springs, as there definitely wasn’t any current like we saw at Manatee Springs State Park. The water was dark and brown with a lot of green stuff floating near the shore. It wasn’t very inviting.
We don’t think there were any Manatee present as we didn’t see anything come to the surface to breathe. We did however see Mullet. They are bottom feeders and like to come to the surface. We actually saw them jump out of the water. They were interesting to watch. The Park Warden let us know that they are very good jumpers and are often found floundering around on the dock. Stuck there until someone comes by and puts them back into the water.
There is also a bit of a nature trail in the park. Here you can venture out into the forest and see the local vegetation. It was interesting to see local hardwood trees sleeping lifelessly while green palm trees could be seen in clumps along the forest floor. Out along the swampy area you can see what looks like tree stumps that are poking just above the water surface. It looks like the trees have either rotted off or have been cut down by a beaver. Wrong. They are actually knees. People aren’t really sure what they are used for but suspect it is to either help support the parent tree or help in oxygenating the roots. So there, I learned something during my walk.
We had a nice time in the park. It was quite peaceful and because it was the middle of the week and the middle of the winter there weren’t many other people around. I was thankful we packed a lunch and could sit looking out over the spring.
We headed back into town later in the afternoon and stopped in at Williston Peanuts. Of course we left with a few of their product. The roasted peanuts are quite good and Bev has taken a liking to the Peanut Brittle and Milk Chocolate covered Cashews. Somehow I don’t think there will be any left to declare when we cross back into Canada.
Tomorrow we are back on the road and moving a few miles south. We will be a little closer to the coast so I suspect we will see different weather patterns. As I mentioned the last few days have been gloomy but today was very warm and humid. I am not sure what to expect tomorrow. I guess we will find out as we pull into Rainbow Springs State Park.